Just when I thought that the Tampa Tribune could not sink any lower, I read an article this morning in the “Other Views” section by a writer named Al McCray. His article, “War Between the States about slavery? No Way” read like a propaganda piece from the Confederacy.
I’m a native Floridian and proud member of the Republican Party. While I understand that heritage is important, we should always tell the truth when it comes to historical facts, even when it is painful to admit.
“ The War Between the States was about states’ rights – not slavery.” – Al McCray
I shake my head every time I hear someone say this. Read any historical document from a confederate state declaring their reason for leaving the union and slavery is the chief reason:
- “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world.” – Mississippi
- “We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.” – Texas
- The cornerstone of the new government “rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition.” – Alaxander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America.
Slavery was an issue that had been dividing this nation for decades. Abolition movements (groups that opposed slavery) had been forming since 1810. Pro and Anti- Slavery factions passed the Missouri Compromise in 1820, which involved the regulation of slavery in the western territories. Civil war was averted with the Compromise of 1850, which resolved the status of territories won in the Mexican-American war.
Churches were divided over the issue. Northern Baptists declared that slavery was immoral while Southern Baptists held that slavery was sanctioned by the bible. Other denominations such as Presbyterian and Methodists split in similar fashion.
The Republican Party was formed by anti-slavery factions in 1854 in response to the Kansas- Nebraska act, which was passed by pro-slavery Democrats such as Stephen Douglas. Abraham Lincoln specifically campaigned on stopping the expansion of slavery and as soon as he won the election of 1860, the southern states seceded from the union.
McCray is right in that Lincoln didn’t issue his proclamation as soon as he took office. That doesn’t mean that the Civil War wasn’t over slavery. Lincoln was against the EXPANSION of slavery as were the majority of pro-slavery factions. Lincoln’s goal was preserving the union.
The South wasn’t happy with just keeping slavery contained. They wanted it spread every time a territory became a state. The Kansas-Nebraska act in 1854 specifically was written to allow the new states of Kansas and Nebraska the right to self -determination (free or slave state.) The South was use to controlling Congress, the Presidency, and the U.S Supreme Court. When the western states helped the North gain control of these branches of government, the South decided to break off and form their own country.
While I believe that we should always encourage the publishing of different points of view, can we at least let them be opinions based on fact and not ignorance ?
I have only one question for Al McCray, who is ironically an african american:
If the Confederacy had won the war, do you think someone like yourself would be allowed to publish an opinion in a major newspaper?